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Troubleshooting Jobs

How do I find which Slurm accounts I am part of?

You can use the iris command line interface to Iris to retrieve user details. The first column Project is all the Slurm accounts a user is associated with.

In this example, the current user is part of two accounts nstaff and m3503.

$ iris
Project      Used(user)    Allocated(user)        Used    Allocated
---------  ------------  -----------------  ----------  -----------
m3503               0.0          1000000.0     12726.1    1000000.0
nstaff          21690.5          4000000.0  26397725.1   80000000.0
What is my default Slurm account?

You can find the default user account by logging into and navigate to CPU tab, you will see a column Default that shows your default Slurm account. In this example, the user default account is nstaff which means that user job will be charged to nstaff account even if they do not specify #SBATCH -A in their job script.


My job will terminate because it will exceed queue run time limit, what can I do?

If your job terminates due to queue run limit, you have a few options:

  1. Optimize your workflow by profiling your code. We have several profiling tools including HPCToolkit, CrayPAT, MAP, Intel VTune, Parallelware Trainer. For more details on profilers see performance tools page
  2. Increase Node/Processor count to reduce runtime.
  3. Utilize checkpoint/restart via DMTCP
  4. If all else fails, request a reservation
What is a Slurm multi-cluster mode?

At Cori, we have configured Slurm in Multi-Cluster mode with two clusters cori and escori. Each Slurm cluster is independent, with its own Slurm environment (partitions/qos) and job accounting.

When you login to Cori, your default cluster is cori, and you can run jobs to Slurm cluster via sbatch --clusters=cori or sbatch --clusters=escori.

In order to submit jobs to escori Slurm cluster you need to load the following module:

module load esslurm


module load esslurm will make escori your default Slurm cluster. If you want to revert back to cori unload the module (module unload esslurm).

The default Slurm binaries are in /usr/bin but we place Slurm binaries for esslurm (i.e., sbatch, squeue, sacct, srun) in /opt/esslurm/bin. Once you load the module your sbatch should be the following:

cori$ which sbatch
How do I monitor a job that I submitted?

If you want to monitor your jobs please use squeue, or sacct and see monitoring page for more details. Please note that the jobID's are unique to the Slurm cluster (cori, escori), for instance if you submit a job to xfer queue your job will be routed to the escori Slurm cluster and you will need to use squeue --clusters=escori or sacct --clusters=escori to monitor the job.

Unable to submit jobs to premium queue?

You need to login to and confirm your account has access to premium queue. If you are a PI please see Enabling the premium QOS and grant your colleague access to premium queue. If you are not a PI, please contact your PI to add your username to queue. This change will take up to an hour to propagate to our systems.

Shown below is a snapshot from iris to enable premium queue access. Please note this is granted per project (#SBATCH -A <account>).

iris premium access

Why is my job marked as InvalidQOS?

This indicates you have specified incorrect qos name #SBATCH -q <QOS> in your job-script. Please check our queue policy for list of available queues and correct your job script.

If your account incurs a negative balance, your project will be restricted to overrun and xfer queue. Take for example, project m0001 has a negative balance since it used 75,000 node hours whereas the project limit was 50,000. We can check this using iris command.

cori$ iris
Project      Used(user)    Allocated(user)       Used    Allocated
---------  ------------  -----------------  ---------  -----------
m0001***      750000.0          50000.0     750000.0    50000.0
*   = user share of project Negative
**  = project balance negative
*** = user and project balance negative

Due to this change, project m0001 will be restricted to subset of queues, if you have previously run jobs on default queues (debug, flex, regular), your jobs will be stuck indefinitely and you should consider killing the jobs using scancel.

Why is my job queued for so long?

The most common cause is that the job requested a long walltime limit: queue wait time correlates strongly with walltime request and weakly with number of nodes (until you reach about half the machine).

The reason for this is the way that jobs are scheduled. Every 5-7 minutes, Slurm makes a plan about what jobs it's going to run for the next 96 hours. It assembles this schedule by going down the list of jobs in priority order, and inserting each into the first empty slot in which it fits. After making that schedule, Slurm scans down the list of jobs not on the schedule, and tries to determine whether it can start each job right now, without having to change anything in its schedule. In other words, it looks for jobs to fill gaps at the front of the schedule. This is why jobs submitted after yours in the regular queue might start before your jobs.

The characteristics of jobs that are able to fit into those gaps are uniformly that they request a relatively short walltime (generally 4 hours or less; less is better). Until your node count gets up to about half the machine, the number of nodes is not correlated with wait time; it is almost exclusively related to the length of the walltime request.

So, if you can arrange your jobs to use higher node counts for less time (e.g., 48 nodes for 2 hours rather than 2 nodes for 48 hours), they will be more likely to fit into those gaps in the schedule. Another option (for applications that are able to use it) is checkpoint/restart. This also allows you to run your job in the flex queue, which offers a substantial discount. If your application doesn't directly support checkpointing, you may still be able to checkpoint it with DMTCP.

Cannot Submit Jobs

If you are unable to submit jobs we recommend you check the following

  • Check your job script for error (invalid qos name, missing time-limit, invalid node count or cpu count, etc...)
  • Check the MOTD and see if Cori is online. See
  • Check NERSC outage calendar for scheduled outage
  • Check Queue Policy to ensure your job complies with Slurm policies
  • Check if you have esslurm module loaded, this exposes different Slurm binaries. Unloading this module will solve many of your errors.
    • If you are submitting jobs to xfer, compile, bigmem queue, check that you have esslurm module loaded
    • For any other cori jobs, ensure that the esslurm module is not loaded
  • If you are having issues with Cori GPU jobs then please see Cori GPU Documentation.
  • Check your startup configuration files ~/.bashrc and ~/.bashrc.ext for any user environment PATH, LD_LIBRARY_PATH, modules, or aliases that may impact your shell.
  • Check if you are charging to correct account (-A <Account>). If you are not sure of your project code you can run iris or login to
  • Check if you have negative balance for your project, if so please contact your project PI. You can run iris to see your project details.
  • Check your file system quota using showquota, if your account exceeds quota limit you won't be able to submit jobs.

If all else fails please submit a ticket at with the following details:

  • Job Script and/or Slurm command
  • Output of module list
  • Output of warning/error messages
  • Time when command was run (use date command)
  • Add any attachments necessary to troubleshoot issue

Common Errors With Jobs

Some common errors encountered during submit or run times and their possible causes are shown in the following table.

Job submission errors

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: Your account has exceeded a file system quota and is not permitted to submit batch jobs.  Please run `myquota` for more information.

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Your file system usage is over the quota(s). Please run the showquota command to see which quota is exceeded. Reduce usage and resubmit the job.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: Job request does not match any supported policy.
    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Unspecified error.

    Possible causes/remedies:

    There is something wrong with your job submission parameters and the request (the requested number of nodes, the walltime limit, etc.) does not match the policy for the selected qos. Please check the queue policy.

    This error also happens when the job submission didn't include the --time-min line with the flex.

    If you also have access to Cori GPU nodes, make sure to unload the cgpu module before trying to submit jobs to Cori Haswell or KNL nodes.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: More resources requested than allowed for logical queue shared (XX requested core-equivalents > YY)
    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Unspecified error

    Possible causes/remedies:

    The number of logical cores that your job tries to use exceeds the the number that you requested for this shared qos job.

  • Error message:

    Job submit/allocate failed: Unspecified

    Possible causes/remedies:

    This error could happen if a user has no active NERSC project on Cori. Please make sure your NERSC account is renewed with an active allocation.

  • Error message:

    Job submit/allocate failed: Invalid qos specification

    Possible causes/remedies:

    This error mostly happens if a user has no access to certain Slurm qos. For example, a user who doesn't have access to the realtime qos would see this error when submitting a job to the qos.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Socket timed out on send/recv operation

    Possible causes/remedies:

    The job scheduler is busy. Some users may be submitting lots of jobs in a short time span. Please wait a little bit before you resubmit your job.

    This error normally happens when submitting a job, but can happen during runtime, too.

  • Error message:

    cori$ salloc ... --qos=interactive
    salloc: Pending job allocation XXXXXXXX
    salloc: job XXXXXXXX queued and waiting for resources
    salloc: error: Unable to allocate resources: Connection timed out

    Possible causes/remedies:

    The interactive job could not start within 6 minutes, and, therefore, was cancelled. It is because either the number of available nodes left from all the reserved interactive nodes or out of the 64 node limit per NERSC project was less than what you requested. See our Cori "interactive" QOS policy page for more details.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: No architecture specified, cannot estimate job costs.
    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Unspecified error

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Your job didn't specify the type of compute nodes. To run on Haswell nodes, add to your batch script:

    #SBATCH -C haswell

    To request KNL nodes, add this line:

    #SBATCH -C knl
  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: The overrun logical queue requires an lower balance than the estimated job cost. Job cost estimated at XX.XX NERSC-Hours, your balance is YYYYYY.YY NERSC-Hours (Repo: YYYYYYY.YY NERSC-Hours). Cannot proceed, please see for your options to run this job.
    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Unspecified error

    Possible causes/remedies:

    You submitted the job to the overrun partition directly. When you submit a job with a normal qos (e.g., regular, debug, etc.), requesting more NERSC-Hours than your NERSC project balance, it will be automatically routed to the overrun queue.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: No available NERSC-hour balance information for user xxxxx, account yyyyy. Cannot proceed.
    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Unspecified error

    Possible causes/remedies:

    You submitted the job using a project that you are not allowed to use. Login in to Iris to see which NERSC project you can use.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: Batch job submission failed: Unable to contact Slurm controller (connect failure)

    Possible causes/remedies:

    There may be an issue with Slurm. If the error is still seen after a few minutes, report to NERSC.

  • Error message:

    sbatch: error: Job cost estimated at XXXXXXXX.XX NERSC-Hours, your balance is XXXXXXX.XX NERSC-Hours (Repo: XXXXXXXX.XX NERSC-Hours). Cannot proceed, please see for your options to run this job.
    sbatch: error: Job submit/allocate failed: Unspecified error

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Your remaining NERSC project balance is not big enough to run the job.

  • Error message:

    srun: error: Unable to create step for job XXXXXXXX: More processors requested than permitted

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Your srun command required more logical cores than available. Please check the values for the -n, -c, etc.

Runtime errors

  • Error message:

    srun: error: eio_handle_mainloop: Abandoning IO 60 secs after job shutdown initiated.

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Slurm is giving up waiting for stdout/stderr to finish. This typically happens when some rank ends early while others are still wanting to write. If you don't get complete stdout/stderr from the job, please resubmit the job.

  • Error message:

    Tue Jul 17 18:04:24 2018: [PE_3025]:_pmi_mmap_tmp: Warning bootstrap barrier failed: num_syncd=3, pes_this_node=68, timeout=180 secs

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Use the sbcast command to transmit the executable to all compute nodes before an srun command. For more information on sbcast, see our best practices for large jobs.

  • Error message:

    slurmstepd: error: _send_launch_resp: Failed to send RESPONSE_LAUNCH_TASKS: Resource temporarily unavailable

    Possible causes/remedies:

    This situation does not affect the job. This issue may have been fixed.

  • Error message:

    srun: fatal: Can not execute vasp_gam
    /var/spool/slurmd/job15816716/slurm_script: line 17: 34559
    Aborted                 srun -n 32 -c8 --cpu-bind=cores vasp_gam

    Possible causes/remedies:

    The user does not belong to a VASP group. The user needs to provide VASP license info following the instructions.

  • Error message:

    cori$ sqs
    JOBID     ST  ...  REASON
    XXXXXXXX  PD  ...  Nodes required*


    cori$ scontrol show job XXXXXXXX
    JobState=PENDING Reason=Nodes_required_for_job_are_DOWN,_DRAINED_or_reserved_for_jobs_in_higher_priority_partitions Dependency=(null)

    Possible causes/remedies:

    The job was tentatively scheduled to start as a backfill job. But some of the assigned nodes are now down, drained or re-assigned to a higher priority job. Wait until Slurm reschedules the job.

  • Error message:

    srun: Job XXXXXXXX step creation temporarily disabled, retrying

    Possible causes/remedies:

    This often happens when there are many srun commands in a batch job and compute nodes are not fully completed from the last srun before the next one starts. Usually the next job step starts eventually.

    However, if you observe a significant delay with starting a srun command, the problem may have to be examined by NERSC staff. In that case, please report the problem to us. Length of the delay, however, can depend on resources (memory, threads, I/O, etc.) involved in the last job step.

  • Error message:

    srun: error: Unable to create step for job XXXXXXXX: Job/step already completing or completed

    which appears with or without this message:

    srun: Job XXXXXXXX step creation temporarily disabled, retrying

    Possible causes/remedies:

    This may be caused by a system issue. Please report to NERSC.

  • Error message:

    Tue Sep 18 20:13:26 2018: [PE_5]:inet_listen_socket_setup:inet_setup_listen_socket: bind failed port 63725 listen_sock = 4 Address already in use
    Tue Sep 18 20:13:26 2018: [PE_5]:_pmi_inet_listen_socket_setup:socket setup failed
    Tue Sep 18 20:13:26 2018: [PE_5]:_pmi_init:_pmi_inet_listen_socket_setup (full) returned -1

    Possible causes/remedies:

    Typically this error indicates that multiple applications have been launched on the same node, and both are using the same PMI (Process Management Interface, which supports launching and managing the processes that make up the execution of a parallel program; see the intro_pmi man page for more info) control port number. When running multiple applications per node, it is the launcher's responsibility to provide PMI with a new (available) port nuber by setting the PMI_CONTROL_PORT env variable. Slurm typically does this.

    You can try either of the following approaches to suppress the PMI errors because your code runs on a single node and does not communicate between nodes:

    • Recompile your code with the craype-network-aries module unloaded, then the PMI library will not be linked into your code:

      cori$ module swap craype-network-aries craype-network-none
    • Set the fowllowing two env variables:

      cori$ export PMI_NO_FORK=1
      cori$ export PMI_NO_PREINITIALIZE=1
  • Error message:

    /some/path/ ./a.out error while loading shared libraries: /opt/gcc/7.3.0/snos/lib64/ cannot read file data:
    Input/output error

    Possible causes/remedies:

    A possible cause is that the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment varialbe has been modified. Since is part of the Intel libraries, you can try unloading the gcc module with module unload gcc if it is loaded, or reloading the intel module with module load intel.

  • Error message:

    slurmstepd: error: Detected zonesort setup failure: Could not open job cpuset (########.#)

    Possible causes/remedies:

    KNL's MCDRAM cache is prone to cache thrashing because it uses direct mapped caching, which can result in slow code performance. To alleviate this possibility, the system's Node Health Check tool runs the 'zonesort' kernel module on compute nodes. For more info, please see KNL Cache Mode. Note that the zonesort module is also run on Haswell nodes although performance implication may not be as significant since direct mapped caching is not used.

    The error message means that running the zonesort kernel failed for some reason. The end result is that your code may have run less optimally. Other than that, the message is usually harmless. If your job failed because the application ran slowly, please resubmit the job.

  • Error message:

    slurmstepd: error: _is_a_lwp: open() /proc/XXXXX/status failed: No such file or directory

    Possible causes/remedies:

    _is_a_lwp is a function called internally for Slurm job accounting. The message indicates a rare error situation with a function call. But the error shouldn't affect anything in the user job. Please ignore the message.

  • Error messages mentioning problems when "locking files", e.g.:

    Programs built against the Cray HDF5 or NetCDF libraries may break due to a known bug in a file locking feature: see the known issues section of the HDF5 docs page.

  • Error message when copying files to Burst Buffer:

    cp: error writing '/var/opt/cray/dws/mounts/batch/YourPersistentReservation/a_file': Read-only file system

    or in a Python program:

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    OSError: [Errno 30] Read-only file system

    Too many writes have been performed in your Burst Buffer allocation, which triggered the write protection of the underlying SSDs and made the file system read-only, to avoid drive blocks to wear out too quickly.

    If you are using a Burst Buffer allocation and need to access the same files from multiple jobs, consider using a Persistent Reservation (PR): no backup is performed of data on Burst Buffer, so always stage-out/copy the important files. See the related page on Burst Buffer.

    The solution is to either wait some hours for the SSDs to "cooldown", or request a new and bigger PR (remember that resources are limited and other users may also need storage space).